16 September 2021

Great Britain’s Charlotte Henshaw successfully defended her ICF VL3 paracanoe world title in Copenhagen on Thursday, and said she hopes to get the chance to contest the event at the 2024 Paralympics in Paris.

The women’s VL3 has been put forward by the ICF for inclusion in Paris, based on the growing numbers in the sport and the depth of talent. Henshaw, who won gold in the women’s KL2 in Tokyo, said the VL3 is ready for the Paralympics.

“You’ve seen it here, we had two heats which is the first time that’s happened, it’s a competitive race even before it is announced as part of the Paris programme,” Henshaw said.

“I really love that race. After Tokyo I had to get myself reset. To go back and do a few days of training, get over the jetlag and then get reset for this, not knowing what state my mind of my body was going to be in – I just wanted to enjoy this week.”

Henshaw finished ahead of British teammate Hope Gordon, with Ukraine’s Nataliia Lahutenko third.

In two non-Paralympic finals decided on Thursday, Artur Chuprov of the Russian Canoe Federation won the men’s VL1 final from Chile’s Robinson Mendez and Italian Alessio Bedin, while Lillemor Koeper of Germany won the women’s VL1, ahead of teammate Esther Bode and France’s Celine Brulais.

In other events there were strong performances from Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic medalists in their first major event since Japan.

Paracanoe gold medalists Peter Kiss from Hungary in the men’s KL1, Serhii Yemelianov of Ukraine in the men’s KL3, Great Britain’s Laura Sugar and Henshaw in the KL3 and KL2 respectively, Germany’s Edina Mueller in the women’s KL1 and Brazil’s Fernando Rufino in the VL2 all won their heats comfortably.

The early rounds of the canoe sprint event produced few surprises.

Denmark’s Emma Jorgensen is the main hope for the host nation this week, following her two bronze medals at the Tokyo Olympics.

On Thursday she breezed through her heat of the K1 200 in front of an enthusiastic crowd.

“It was very nice to get started after the Olympics, I think my arms and in my mind it has been tough to get over the Olympics,” Jorgensen said.

“It’s nice not to have to take a flight to go somewhere, basically I can sleep in my own bed.”

Hungary’s Balint Kopasz showed he has not lost any form since winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics, cruising to a heat win in the men’s K1 1000 to book his ticket straight into this weekend’s final.

He said staying focused after Tokyo was challenging, but he wants to defend his world title.

“It was hard because I would like to have relaxed after the Olympic Games,” he said.

“But I trained a lot because this world championships is very important for me, and several other competitors I think.

“My main aim is to keep the world champion title.”

The 2021 ICF paracanoe and canoe sprint world championships continue on Friday, with gold medals decided in the men’s paracanoe VL2 and VL3, and the women’s VL2.

Pics by Bence Vekassy

Hungary Balint Kopasz K1 1000 Copenhagen

Canoe Sprint
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